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A validation of a computerised task of risk-taking and moral decision-making and its association with sensation-seeking, impulsivity and sociomoral reasoning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Susan Young, Gisli H. Gudjonsson, Emily J. Goodwin, Derek Perkins, Robin Morris

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)941-946
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2013

Bibliographical note

© 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

King's Authors


The aim of this study was to investigate the reliability and validity of the computer based application of the Secret Agent (SA) task of risk-taking and moral decision-making. The participants were 100 male patients in a maximum security hospital (50 with severe mental illness and 50 with personality disorder) and 50 community based healthy controls. All participants completed the SA task, the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), and measures of IQ, antisocial personality traits, sensation-seeking, impulsivity and sociomoral reasoning. The SA risk-taking and moral decision-making scales had satisfactory levels of reliability (Cronbach's alpha). Risk-taking correlated significantly with sensation-seeking across all three participant groups. In contrast, risk-taking only correlated with impulsivity among the severe mental illness group. Moral decision-making correlated with sociomoral reasoning among the personality disorder group. No correlation was found between the SA scores and the IGT score and the IGT did not correlate with sensation-seeking or impulsivity. IQ and antisocial personality traits did not correlate with the SA or IGT scales. The study highlights the importance of context, the nature of the risk-taking task, and 'problem framing' of the instructions in their relationship with individual differences. 

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